Mercedes-Benz has announced the start of series production of the new, third-generation B-Class at the German firm’s Rastatt plant.

The new B-Class is the third vehicle in the Stuttgart-based automaker’s latest-generation compact vehicle family, after the new A-Class hatchback and sedan.

"The B-Class ramp-up marks a further milestone in the ramp-up cascade of our next compact car generation. Our lead plant Rastatt is exclusively producing the tourer for the global market," said Markus Schäfer, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars for production and supply chain.

In Germany, the new B-Class can be ordered from early December 2018, with deliveries due to begin in February 2019. And South Africa? Well, the new MPV is scheduled to arrive on local shores in the second quarter of 2019.

"Our entire team is proud of the fact that Rastatt will remain inextricably linked with the B-Class in future, too. A start of production is always a highlight for a plant,” said Thomas Geier, site manager of the factory.

“For this one particularly, we have prepared ourselves intensively. Among other things, a hall was completely rebuilt. Thanks to our experience with the A-Class we are optimally acquainted with the production architecture and can use synergies,” Geier added.

The Rastatt plant boasts around 6 500 employees and is the central training site for all of Mercedes-Benz’s compact vehicle plants.